Sort and Separate

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Five-minute read.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

Psalm 139:3a

Sorted and separated.

Zarah, the Hebrew verb for discern, translates as “search out” or “scrutinize.” [i] Describing a farmer winnowing his crops, separating the wheat from the chaff, the Psalmist uses it to depict God’s examination of our ways; He never misses a thing. No chaff remains after the Lord sorts and sifts us.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13

In life, we can fall into the temptation of believing God doesn’t know our sufferings. But the Lord knows every hurt we experience, every pain we feel. During good times, we often forget our Creator, not needing His assistance nor seeking His presence. But when a crisis occurs, we call out to the Creator, desperate for His help.

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Becoming aware of God’s constant presence in our lives requires discipline. Job suffered unimaginable heartache, losing his family, livelihood, and health, yet never lost faith in the Lord.  God’s servant’s faith developed over a lifetime of trusting and following God.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10

Trials refine us like precious metals; the heat removes the impurities and leaves only the gold behind. All suffering on earth will end; this life a temporary one. But the purification process prepares us for our eternal home, sorting out the chaff and transforming us into the image of Christ. 

Through Jesus, we can endure. Putting into practice the teachings of Christ will guide us through the trials and tribulations of life. God’s Son kept an open line of communication with His heavenly Father.   Jesus didn’t seek His will but God’s. And when Christ returned to His rightful place beside the Creator, He left us the  Holy Spirit to guide and direct us.

Cling to God, knowing He has a plan for your life, one only you can fulfill. Allow the Lord to sort and separate you, knowing your pain will refine you like gold and prepare you for your eternal home. When the Holy Spirit nudges you from within your heart, acknowledge and follow Him.

The Lord wants you to live life in abundance. He pulls us from our sins and gives us new life. We can endure all things through Christ, who strengthens us.


God refines us.

When my nephew died, I experienced pain like never before. As the years marched onward, I wrestled with God’s decision to call Cody home instead of healing him on earth. People asked me difficult questions: “Why didn’t God answer your prayers?” “Why did God take Cody?” As I searched for answers from above, I found comfort from the Great Comforter. And I accepted some answers I won’t know until I reach heaven.

But I trusted God’s faithfulness in my pain. And I learned that He never leaves me nor forsakes me. Working through the loss introduced me to a grace I’d never known before and refined me. Instead of becoming bitters, I allowed God to make me better as He sorted and separated me from my fleshly desires and His Godly purpose.

In the heat of the battle, God removes the chaff and separates us from our sins, refining the gold within us.

Journaling Questions:

  1. How do you feel God’s presence in your life?
  2. Where do you feel God’s absence?
  3. In what ways has God refined you through the struggles you’ve endured?


Lord, forgive me for doubting Your process. As I face the challenges to come, let me do so confident of Your presence amid the fire. Sort and separate me from my sin, help me become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, transforming me. Help me become more like Jesus as I faithfully pursue You.  IJNIP. Amen


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